COVID-19 Update: Safety Today and Every Day. Learn more

The Convergence of Healthcare and Senior Living Communities

Senior Living Strategy June 10, 2020

Healthcare and senior communities are converging to provide holistic, data-driven solutions and proactive care—all in the name of reducing costs and driving better health outcomes. Senior living communities that embrace the new approach can expect significant improvements in resident quality of life and other key success metrics.

But what does a proactive care delivery model look like? Who’s doing it today? And what technologies must senior living communities adopt to move toward that goal? 

 

Senior Living Communities Are Primed For Proactive Care 

For the forward-thinking caregivers, the focus has shifted from reacting to a health issue to taking a proactive approach—one that seeks to prevent a health issue from occurring. Essentially, to nip the problem in the bud before it occurs. 

This requires more than just promoting healthy habits. It requires an understanding of all of a residents needs–physical, medical, social and behavioral–the ability to predict activity based on those needs, and then respond intelligently. It requires data and the ability to use it to anticipate and act in new ways.  

According to Lynne Katzmann, CEO of Juniper Communities, senior housing owners and operators are ideally positioned to provide proactive care that creates a positive impact on resident health, happiness, and finances. She writes, “Senior living communities can play a key role in bending the cost curve for U.S. healthcare by driving better outcomes for some of the highest-risk, highest-cost patients.”

By using a proactive model, a senior living community can:

  • Set a baseline of daily resident activity 
  • Keep residents safe at all times 
  • Enhance the quality of patient care by increasing caregiver productivity
  • Monitor changes in daily activities and behavior
  • Receive alerts on urgent events  
  • Provide residents’ families with increased visibility over daily life, mood, and health trends 

What Does Proactive Care Look Like?

A proactive, coordinated care model seeks to prevent adverse outcomes before they arise. This leads to better health outcomes, higher resident satisfaction, and reduced costs (for both residents and providers). Although it varies from one senior living community to another, there are three common hallmarks of a proactive care system. 

 

Whole Person and Resident Specific 

Modern data solutions do more than measure physical health. They also help caregivers measure emotional and mental wellbeing. According to Senior Living News: “Monitoring emotional and mental health is especially important when seniors are experiencing a transition or quality of life change, such as moving from assisted living into a nursing home or following a significant health event.” 

By leveraging technology and intelligent analytics, senior living communities are able to make wiser and more informed care decisions that address each resident’s individual health concerns and care needs.  

 

Insights Based 

To provide the best care possible, senior living communities have to know who, what, when, where, and why.

Technology, such as wearables, or motion and location sensors, makes it possible to have 24/7 visibility into the needs of residents. A constant stream of data allows senior living communities and families to track residents’ habits, health, and activity. 

Millions of data points create a baseline that can be used to predict and prevent adverse outcomes such as a trip and fall. By knowing and capturing more information about your residents’ lifestyle and actions, you can then leverage that knowledge to make informed decisions. 

 

Integrated  

Proactive care requires the integration of care management models, healthcare plans, and convenient living arrangements to address a broader range of health needs. 

Electronic medical records (EMRs) and telehealth services make it easier for seniors to connect with medical teams. For caregivers, modern technology creates greater oversight of a resident’s health and behavior while also enhancing communication with both staff and residents. They also make it easier to analyze, share, and act upon useful insights, which lead to more proactive care. 

 

The Impact of Medicare Advantage on Senior Living 

Recent changes to Medicare Advantage have opened up opportunities for senior living communities. The operators that use a proactive, coordinated care model can now partner, directly or indirectly, with Medicare Advantage programs. According to Senior Housing News

“Under Medicare Advantage, private companies can collect federal dollars by offering benefit packages to seniors as an alternative to traditional, government-run Medicare… MA plans can now fund certain types of non-medical, in-home care services. That, in turn, opens up the option of direct reimbursement of some services frequently delivered by senior living providers.” 

Senior living communities have an opportunity to partner with or create a MA plan to take advantage of these changes. As other forward-thinking communities have discovered, implementing  full-care programs can reduce costs and hospitalizations, increase resident length of stay, and differentiate their facility in the marketplace. 

 

Geisinger 65 Forward

In 2019, Geisinger Health System, a regional health care provider with more than 3,000,000 members across the East Coast, partnered with senior living communities on a senior-focused, primary-care program named 65 Forward. It was built from several modern care principles: 

  • Integrate a smaller patient panel for primary care physicians to reduce patient wait times and increase one-on-one attention
  • Provide a robust staff of nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other staff to offer both clinical and non-clinical services
  • Embrace telehealth technologies to improve access to care and communication between medical teams

The goals of 65 Forward were simple: support care management, reduce care costs, lengthen stays, reduce care model inefficiencies, cut operating costs, and decrease the overall combined cost of care and housing. Per Juliann Molecavage, the Associate VP of Quality and Primary Services at Geisinger, “We wanted to create a one-stop shop approach for patients who are aging to keep them healthy and manage their diseases.” 

 

Juniper Communities Connect4Life

Similarly, in 2017, Juniper Communities integrated a care model called Connect4Life that leverages care coordination, on-site primary care, an array of health services, and EMR technology to improve resident satisfaction and wellbeing, reduce hospitalizations, and extend stays. According to recent studies, it’s been a rousing success: 

“Juniper has been able to achieve a hospitalization rate of 0.30 events per person per year for a population of 471 medically frail seniors, all of whom participate in Connect4Life. That compares to a hospitalization rate of 0.65 events per person per year for a population of 3.42 million… Juniper is saving the Medicare program between $3.93 million and $6.04 million each year by reducing hospitalizations.”

By extrapolating those savings and hospital rates to the larger Medicare beneficiary population, aggregate savings are estimated to surpass $10 billion. 

These findings demonstrate that Connect4Life is a business model that benefits both senior housing and the healthcare system as a whole–and is worth emulating.  

When asked about the advantages of a proactive system, Lynne Katzmann responded, “If I’m in charge of population health, in charge of a managed care plan or special needs plan, or a program focused on managing a high-cost population, I should be going, ‘Hey, which assisted living facility has invested in technology, in care coordination? If they’ve done that, I’m going to bring primary care to them. I’m going to bring them residents, because I want my population living there.” 

 

Sentrics360SM: The Link Between Healthcare and Senior Living

Today, an increasing number of senior living communities are turning to nascent technologies like the Sentics360 platform to help them lead this convergence of healthcare and senior living. This comprehensive technology suite provides the communities with tools that ensure resident safety, help drive whole-health engagement, entertain creatively, and enrich lives by providing profound insights that help caretakers predict and prevent adverse events. 

It’s composed of four parts: 

  • Ensure360SM – The industry’s best eCall, sensor, location tracking and emergency equipment solution you need to keep your resident safe, improve caregiver efficiency and reduce the risk of an adverse event. 
  • Engage360SM – A powerful, interactive platform that engages a resident’s mind, body and spirit as well as helps them interact with the community, family and friends, right from the TV.
  • Entertain360SM– An easy-to-use, all-in-one infotainment platform that integrates TV programming, internet and voice services seamlessly. 
  • Enrich360SM – An AI-based solution that integrates and correlates thousands of data points a day from multiple platforms, analyzes them, predicts outcomes, and delivers them in an easy-to-understand, visual format that helps the caregiver know what action to take.

Sentrics360 makes it possible for senior living communities to embrace the convergence of healthcare and senior living. It forms a powerful nexus through which you can help transform your residential community and create better outcomes for your residents. 

Interested in what Sentrics360 can do for you?

Reach out today to discover more.  

 

Sources:

Related Blog Posts

View Blog
August 27, 2020  /  Senior Living Strategy

Proactive Reopening Strategies for COVID-19

Read More
August 16, 2020  /  Senior Living Strategy

How Senior Technology Supports Resident Dignity

Read More
August 10, 2020  /  Senior Living Strategy

Why Senior Living Communities Must Embrace Population Health

Read More